Some $230,000 worth of damage was done to an Olympia coin-operated laundry cleaners this afternoon by a fire of unknown origin.
Three people who live in two apartments above the cleaners in the two-story building at 1161 Olympia Ave. were made homeless by the fire, which burned a hole in the structure’s roof. The Red Cross has been contacted.
There were no injuries.
“The Richland County Fire Marshal’s office will investigate the fire,” said Interim Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins of the Columbia Fire Department, whose units fought the blaze.
A witness on the scene told firefighters he saw smoke coming out of an electrical box in the cleaners followed by a ribbon of fire going up a wall, Jenkins said.
At the time the fire broke out, around 3 p.m., there were four people using the self-service washers and dryers, Jenkins said.
He did not know if they managed to save their clothing.
-- John Monk